Self-publishing a book can be done for free or for very little money, but many will wonder if self-publishing pays enough to really be worth the effort that has gone into writing a book. There are many aspects to consider when choosing this route, which will be discussed below, but self-publishing may be just what you need to get your book out to the public and start growing your fan base.
Self-publishing means you have written or created a book or e-book and now want to share it with others, usually online. Overall, self-publishers can earn between 40-60% in royalties on a single book sale, with traditionally published authors earning around 10-12%. While this seems like a great option and can be for many writers, those who go through a publisher do have some benefits. The first is that many first-time authors who use a publisher can receive an advance for their book. This can be wonderful, but this can also mean that royalties are not earned until that advance has been covered in book sales. However, a publishing company will be focused on making money, so they will also provide promotion for the book. This tends to allow publishing companies to say that if you sell a certain number of books, then royalties will increase over time, but that number must be met first. By contrast, self-published authors can start earning from the first sale but must create their own promotion for the book.
If you consider publishing a book, consider self-publishing to break into the writing game as an author. The first step is, of course, writing and writing often. Authors who are remembered tend to have multiple books or a series of books to keep readers interested and wanting more. Then, choose between self-publishing and traditional forms of publishing. Either can be successful choices, though traditional publishing tends to take longer because of what it entails. You may also not see huge returns unless you have something that creates a bidding war between traditional publishers. As you write, make sure you are writing to the market. The goal is to sell books and make money, so learn what is trending or starting to trend and write to that audience. This does not make you less of an author or a “sell-out,” but it does require a fast turnaround of quality material before the audience moves on to another trending topic. For those who can write quickly and reach the market fast, this is a legitimate career opportunity. If you choose to self-publish, look at categories you enjoy, see what is selling, and then write to that audience. This can keep a career going for a long time for someone who publishes quickly.
This leads to the next step, write every single day, and publish as often as possible. Writing your stories or novels should become a lifestyle, not just a job. It has to be a habit if you truly be an author who can also make a living from your writing and publishing. The fastest way to do this is with books that use the same character or characters. This will have a single customer buying more than one book until the series ends. Customers who buy multiple books in a series are likely to leave positive reviews and buy other books outside the series. This means hooking readers on a series can lead to further purchases.
As your series starts or when the second book is poised to be published, put together an email list or platform outside of social media to communicate with people who want to read more of your writing or communicate with you. This turns into the form of a sales list. Email lists through things like Mailchimp or Convertkit are best because social media can go down, and technically, they own your list. With email lists, you are in control. This allows you to recruit beta readers, offer sale items, and promote your upcoming books with relative ease. Finally, commit to being an author. This is something that should be a passion, not just another job.
Whether you choose to self-publish or use traditional publishing, the focus should be on writing. Both options have positives and drawbacks, but if you love the work, then you can do well. Some may even start with self-publishing and then move to traditional publishing later on and with growing popularity. The choice is yours.